Increased consumption of ultra-processed foods is linked to cancer, says a study

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According to a large and ground breaking study, ultra-processed foods made in factories with ingredients unknown to the domestic kitchen may be linked to cancer.

A team led by researchers based at the Sorbonne in Paris, looked at the medical records and eating habits of nearly 105,000 adults who are a part of the French NutriNet -Santé cohort study, registering their usual intake of 3,300 different food items.

Ultra-processed foods include pot noodles, shelf-stable ready meals, cakes and confectionery that contain many additives, preservatives, flavorings and colorings as well as high levels of sugar, fat and salt.

Researchers have found that a 10% increase in the amount of ultra-processed foods in the diet was linked to a 12% increase in cancers of some kind. The researchers also looked to see whether there were increases in specific types of cancer and found a rise of 11% in breast cancer, although no significant upturn in colorectal or prostate cancer.

The paper in the British Medical Journal states that if confirmed in other populations and settings, these results suggest that the rapidly increasing consumption of ultra-processed foods may drive an increasing burden of cancer in the next decades.


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